How to have a positive mindset

How-to-have-a-positive-mindset

It’s easy to pour compliments on other people, but showing love to ourselves is another challenge entirely. Often we see ourselves negatively, and critically compare our ‘weaknesses’ and ‘flaws’ to the so-called perfections of the people around us.

The truth is though, that we are worthy of love. In fact, we are just as deserving as the person we perceive to have it all-together, who in reality, is probably also self-conscious too. So how do we start showing ourselves love?

By changing our mindset. In this infographic by Simply Stepping, we are given a list of common complaints we have about ourselves.

“I can’t do any better!”

”I’m so fat.”

“I look stupid.”

Does this sound familiar to you? By challenging these thoughts and reframing them to something more positive, we slowly change our mindset to one of self-love and infinite worth.

So next time you think, “I’m not as good looking as them, no one could ever love me,” grab the thought and change it to, “When I compare myself with others I waste my precious time and energy. My beauty is defined within, and the people that matter love me for me.”

Take a look at the infographic and see what negative mindsets you can change this week. Start with one and see how you go. Overtime, you’ll begin to believe what you’re saying, and will be made stronger by your own self-love.

How-to-have-a-positive-mindset---kindness-talk

Do you often criticize yourself? Would you like to develop a positive mindset? Here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

5 ways to practice positive self talk

5-ways-to-practice-positive-self-talk

One of the first strategies I ever learnt in counselling was self talk. Initially it sounded strange—who talks to themselves? But I soon found it was one of the simplest ways to overcome fear and anxiety in my own life.

Though we don’t talk about it, we all have our own inner monologue. Whether we think, “I looked stupid,” “I hope they like me,” or “I feel confident today,” it’s what goes through our heads each day. And the monologue you have will depend on the truths and lies you have believed about yourself.

Self-talk challenges this monologue and enables us to change our thinking and our behaviour. Here are five ways you can practice it in your own life.

  1. “I am enough”

Many people struggle with feelings of inferiority and have a fear of rejection. You may have grown up feeling like you had to compete for attention, or had words spoken to you by significant figures, stating that you were worthless, a failure or would amount to nothing in life.

When you feel this anxiety and loneliness, repeat these words to yourself: “I am enough”. You won’t believe them straight away, but use these words to give you confidence that you will get through your circumstances. As you keep saying these words and outliving them, eventually you will believe them about yourself.

  1. “I am brave”

Are you afraid of a certain person, an activity or an environment? Repeat the words, “I am brave,” to yourself, and challenge your inner monologue that says you are fearful, inconsequential and should be taken  advantage of.

Follow these words by doing what you are afraid of—speaking up for yourself, leaving a poisonous relationship, or trying something new. You will enforce your self talk and soon, you will realise that you are incredibly brave and do not have to let fear control you.

  1. “I am worthy”

Do people take advantage of you, speak down to you or say that everything they do wrong is your fault? Repeat the phrase, “I am worthy,” so you begin to believe that you deserve better than this. By simply existing, you are worthy of love, respect, value and feeling safe.

Next time someone challenges this belief, stand up for yourself. You don’t have to waiver or be fearful that you are ‘wrong’ to speak up. You are worthy of having a voice and being heard.

  1. “I am responsible for my actions and feelings”

If you struggle to take responsibility for your actions or words, begin to repeat this phrase to yourself: “I am responsible for my actions and feelings ”. By saying this, you break the cycle of blame and empower yourself to change your circumstances.

Saying these words does not make you entirely responsible for a situation or excuse the behaviour of another; it just allows you to take control of what you can change. When you take responsibility for yourself, you can begin a new chapter in your life.

  1. “I can do this”

These are simple words, but if you doubt yourself or are unconvinced you can overcome a situation, addiction or behaviour, then saying, “I can do this,” will compel you to move forward.

Challenge your inner belief that says you are a failure, and repeat this phrase to yourself before you go to a significant appointment, have cravings, or are ready to run away and live in denial.

Do you struggle with your inner monologue? Would you like to learn more about positive self talk? Contact Watersedgecounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you or press book now to book in our online diary.

10 Ways to Break Negative Thinking

10-Ways-to-Break-Negative-Thinking

We all have negative thoughts every now and then, but there are times when they rule our lives. For people who are depressed, having a negative mindset can be both a symptom and a contributing factor to the illness.

In his book, ‘Feeling Better,’ Dr Antony Kidman identifies three thought processes that are common in depression-prone people. They are

  • a negative view of self,
  • a negative view of the world and
  • a negative view of the future.

Can you identify these mindsets in your own life? If you find yourself spiralling into negative thoughts, there is a way to break the cycle. Here are ten ways to break your negative thinking.

  1. Challenge your perception of ‘all or nothing’

Life isn’t black and white, so when we define ourselves by categories or achievements, we perpetuate negative thinking. Consider an A or A+ student. When they just pass, they can fall into the mindset of ‘I am a failure’.

You can challenge this all or nothing paradigm by considering your situation from another person’s point-of-view. Think about the best and worst of the situation, and recognise that this categorical thought process is a distorted and unrealistic way of thinking.

  1. Stop catastrophising a situation

When we are uncertain about the future, we tend to exaggerate the circumstances around upcoming events. This means that instead of expecting the best, we automatically jump to the worst conclusion possible.

For example, if your boss calls you into a meeting, you might exaggerate how they spoke to you that morning, imagining they are about to fire you. However, this is extremely unlikely, and in fact, they are about to praise you for your work. You can stop catastrophising by listing all the possible outcomes of an event (good and bad), and asking a friend for their perspective.

  1. Remember it’s not all about you

There’s nothing worse than seeing someone frown or give you a snide side-glance. You imagine that every negative comment is a passive attack on you, and the people are perpetually annoyed by your presence. This is a personalisation thought process.

Challenge this thinking by remembering this simple fact: you are not the centre of their universe, and that’s ok. It is extremely unlikely people are responding to you in these cases, and even if they did have a problem, it is their responsibility to approach you about it.

  1. Don’t predict the future

Misfortune telling occurs when we imagine the future in a totally negative light. This thought process prevents you from having a balanced and realistic view of the world and the opportunities ahead of you.

Challenge this thought process by considering the best possible outcome in a situation. Remember the good things you have experienced in the past, and use this as a shield to stop your negative predictions of the future.

  1. Try not to overgeneralise

Over-generalisation inhibits our confidence by suggesting a negative experience will always happen in certain situations. Like when a person is rejected for a date—they may then assume they will never fall in love, there is something wrong with them, and people find them repulsive.

When you start down this rabbit hole, challenge your over-generalisations with rationality. One rejection or failure is not a map for the future; it is a single event that has the potential to pan out differently in another place or time.

  1. Pay attention to the positive details

If you ignore positivity, you will get caught in negative thoughts and feelings of sadness. Even the good becomes bland, and we can become cynical and bored.

You can challenge your negative thoughts by looking for positive details—a delicious meal, a warm hug, or the sun peaking through the clouds. Write in a diary every day, and you will be surprised by how many wonderful things occur for you in a week!

  1. Stop jumping to conclusions

False conclusions are just that—false. But when we jump to them in the heat of the moment, they seem real and plausible. Our own insecurities cause us to misread people and circumstances, and bring us to negative conclusions.

You can challenge this thought process by identifying other factors happening around you. For instance, your friend may not have responded to your text straight away, but it’s unlikely they are annoyed with you. In fact, they’re probably just busy or have run out of credit.

  1. Don’t expect people to read your mind

Couples can tell you first-hand how dangerous this thought process is. When we expect people to read our minds and ‘just know’ what we need and how we feel, we will nearly always be disappointed. In turn, we jump to false conclusions and become unhappy with the people around us.

You can challenge this mindset by voicing your concerns and needs. Next time you get annoyed because your spouse isn’t doing the ‘right thing’, consider this question: ‘Have I actually asked them for help, or do I just expect them to know I need it’?

  1. Challenge irrational beliefs

Most people have beliefs that are unfounded. We believe that we ‘should’ do things, and that we ‘must’ fulfil certain expectations. These irrational beliefs make us feel isolated, burn out and cynical.

Challenge your irrational beliefs by changing your mindsets. Instead of ‘I must’ or ‘I never’, think, ‘I would prefer to do this’. Dare to sit-out an activity your irrational belief compels you to do. When you break these beliefs, you stop striving for an unattainable perfection.

  1. Practice self-talk

When we feel depressed or are consumed by negative thoughts, we get upset of a secondary disturbance. This thought process means that we get more upset about our negative feelings. For instance, someone who is depressed may think, ‘I should not be depressed’, and so feel even worse.

You can challenge this belief by practicing positive self-talk. Say to yourself, ‘It is okay to feel this way,’ ‘This feeling will pass,’ and ‘Positive things are ahead’. You might even try meditation or mindfulness to overcome this negative mindset.

Do you struggle with negative thought patterns? Would you like to break free? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

This blog was written with the assistance of Dr Antony Kidman’s book ‘Feeling Better: A Guide to Mood Management’.

How You Can Recover From Depression

We can never talk too much about depression. One in every five people will experience depression- that could be you, it could be your partner, child or parent, and it could be a colleague at work. 1 in 5 people include doctors, psychologists, lawyers, and celebrities, ministers of religion, teachers and counsellors. Knowledge, social status, a particular culture, success nor even a particular faith or religion safeguards a person from depression. Depression is no respecter of persons.

I have experienced depression. I was diagnosed with severe depression 23 years ago. At the time I was a minister of religion, wife and young mother of twin daughters when, having tried desperately (and frequently failing) to keep up the image of a strong, competent and successful leader, wife and mother, my body gave up on me and I collapsed.

I didn't hear voices or experience hallucination. At the core of my experience I was just sad, perpetually sad, a deep sadness that no amount of positive thinking or encouragement from well meaning, good intentioned people could shift. I could not even muster my facial muscles into the position of a smile, I lost it somewhere.

I retreated inside myself so that I observed life around me but I had checked out. Life really didn’t register anymore. I just went through the routine each day until even that became impossible. I relied upon the understanding and support of my husband, a good G.P. and a supportive counselling professional. There were testing times for my marriage- my husband frequently felt angry and unsupported himself. Ultimately what got me through was the Counselling Professional whose unfailing support, empathy and knowledge guided me in the direction of healing.

Until I understood what depression was, I felt deeply shamed – shamed that I was apparently failing at life, shamed that I couldn't even look after my children let alone carry off a job! Depression crippled my self-belief so that I wanted to simply hide away. And I did for a while – I left behind the profession (minister of religion) I had held so dear, left a community of people who shared my former ideals. It took me many years before I was ready to face them again.

The day I finally collapsed was the worst but ultimately the sweetest of days because I attracted the attention of a doctor who recognised what was happening. I still remember the words of hope that doctor gave me when coming to visit: ‘you are sick and we can treat you and get you well again.' The relief that here at last someone had actually validated my experience and promised effective help!

This was the commencement of a journey that continued over the next decade. You see, depression does not ‘go away' simply by taking a pill. Yes, medication does help and is an important component of treatment however to fully recover and avoid serious relapse you need a treatment plan often referred to as a ‘mental health care plan'. This plan will include counselling, exercise and additional community supports should one need them.

In my personal journey I discovered that the image of an onion with its layers being peeled back slowly and methodically was very apt. Having done an intense period of counselling and feeling more in control and in good health, I would decrease my medication and disengage from counselling only to ‘come a cropper' down the track. This would send me running back to the GP and my Counsellor, where I would review the situation and take the necessary steps to recover my health again. Each relapse became shorter as I continued to learn more about myself and about how to care for myself. My desire to be well, to grow as a person, to thrive and to be a skilled helper to others kept me persevering. The secure, confident, happy and skilled person I am today is the result of much perseverance and the belief that life can get better.

As a counsellor, I observe a similar pattern where a person is initially diagnosed and seeks help. Having made an initial recovery, one is ready to decrease their medication and disengage from counselling. It is not uncommon for a person to have a relapse, having had a period of good health. Rather than seeing this as a weakness I prefer to see it as an invitation to further growth- an opportunity to revisit previous learnings, reinforce them and take in new learnings. It is another layer of the onion.

Many of us fear change. We feel disinclined to put the effort into the disciplines that will ultimately heal us. It is actually easier to stay as you are ‘ comfortable in your discomfit’ than risk the unfamiliar! You might even have tried 1 or 2 sessions of counselling only to disengage, discouraged by the overwhelming emotions that assaulted you as you spoke about things long hidden.

I encourage you to try again- initially it can be very painful as you peel back the layers however there is no short cut to healing. Talk to the Counsellor about your fears and be persistent in seeking the support and help you need.

You are worth it.

If you are struggling with feelings of sadness, despair, depression, severe anxiety or thoughts of suicide, it is important that you seek professional health assistance as soon as possible to help you recover. Your G.P. and/or a Professional Counsellor can give you the additional support you need. For a FREE 10 minute consultation as to how we can help you, ring Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 or you can book an appointment with Colleen or Duncan by going to the orange button titled CLICK ONLINE NOW and follow the prompts.